SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — S&W Seed Co. has reached an agreement to acquire certain assets and assigned contracts of Chromatin, Inc., a Chicago, Illinois, U.S.-based sorghum operator, for $26.5 million. Chromatin entered into receivership earlier this year.

“We are excited about this announcement and the opportunity it provides S&W to significantly expand our presence in the sorghum industry and evolve into an elite middle market agricultural company,” said Mark Wong, chief executive officer of S&W Seed Co. “Chromatin originated as an agricultural biotech company that had transitioned to an integrated global sorghum seed company. We believe the sorghum hybrids that have been developed to date are some of the best in the industry, with a development pipeline of products that include key traits that are anticipated to be first to market. In addition to a strong product portfolio, they have established a distribution network of sales representatives, 500+ farmer-dealers, and channel partners that we believe will allow for significant cross selling synergies with our existing alfalfa sales organization. This is precisely the type of opportunity the management team and board has been seeking to accelerate our go forward strategic plan.”

S&W described Chromatin as a “pure play sorghum company with a platform for growth.”

Chromatin, S&W said, offers a diverse sorghum hybrid product portfolio of grain, forage, food grade and sweet varieties. The company also has an R&D and testing program that S&W said should allow products to be brought to market faster than competitors through the development of approximately 300 molecular markers. The program is expected to allow the breeding team to identify and breed desirable traits into commercial hybrids with improved efficiencies, S&W said.

“S&W has a defined plan in place to recognize significant sales and cost synergies that we believe will position the acquired operations to be a significant contributor of profits in fiscal 2020 and beyond,” Wong said.

Founded in 1980, S&W Seed Co. is a global agricultural company with a vision to be the world’s preferred proprietary seed company that supplies a range of forage and specialty crop products that supports the growing global demand for animal proteins and healthier consumer diets.

Following the announcement, S&W Seed said Don Panter has been named executive vice-president of Americas and David Callachor has been promoted to executive vice-president of International.

Panter will oversee sales and marketing, research and development and supply chain for the integrated alfalfa, sorghum, sunflower, and stevia operations within the Americas. He has more than 20 years’ experience as an agribusiness executive, with time spent in both start-up and turn-around business situations and expertise in such areas as product/project development, global business, strategic planning and technology evaluation. He also has held senior leadership positions at several seed and biotechnology companies, including Stoneville Pedigreed Seed, Emergent Genetics, Harris Moran Seed Co. and Mendel BioEnergy Seeds.  Most recently, Panter was president and chief executive officer of American DairyCo, a private equity-held, U.S.-based commercial dairy company consisting of about 10,000 dairy cows and agricultural operations across 5,000 acres in Florida and Georgia.

Callachor joined S&W in January 2018 to expand the company’s hybrid focus. In his new role he will oversee all international operations, including sales and marketing, production and research and development. He is a senior agribusiness executive with more than 20 years of experience in the agriculture industry, including extensive international experience in hybrid seeds, traits and new technologies. Callachor has worked with several global seed companies including Advanta Seeds and, most recently, Limagrain as Group Sales Manager for South East Asia. He also has worked with Landmark, an Agrium Company, for several years in Australia.